(grand) Mother's day

Part 2 in my Mothers day series

In honor of my mommy's birthday I would like you to meet HER mommy. Some years ago (*coughiwon'tsayhowmanycough*) today this wonderful woman welcomed my mommy into the world.

Nancy Lee Caufield Marshall.
For those of you that were lucky enough to have met her, I can pretty much stop there and you would still understand why I want to be like her. But not everyone had the privilege of meeting her, so I will let you know a few things about the wonderful woman who was my Mamma.
Born in 1925 in Pleasant View, Virginia, it comes as no surprise that my grandmother exemplified true southern charm. She had a gentle, quiet manner, and a "no-need-to-rush" outlook on life. While I am completely to opposite of "quiet", it is her peace that I admire so much. She was calm in the face of many difficult trials, including her husband's illness, and later her own. It was incredibly rare for her to be angry, even when grandchildren tested her patience, or it became hard for her to communicate. Not that it never happened, but I can probably count on my hands the number of times I heard her raise her voice at anyone in the almost 21 years that I knew her.
There was a grace and dignity about her, perhaps because she was a southern lady, or maybe because she was a true lady. It may seem like a silly, little girly, thing to say, but my grandmother was a real lady. She represents a lot of things that our generation rejects. Modesty, moderation, and femininity. And I hope that I can be like her.
Mamma wore dresses, makeup, and had long beautiful hair. She was never showy, or overdone. Nor did she dress the way she did because society pressed her to. She took pride in her appearance, and in being put together. She may not have been looking for a lot of attention, but I can't imagine her not turning every head when she walked in a room looking like this:

I can't talk about the kind of woman my grandmother was, without mentioning the kind of man she married. My grandparents may not have been the most emotionally expressive people, but they clearly loved each other very much. Yes, they did take on "traditional" or "archaic" roles in their marriage, which society may rebel against, but I say "why mess with success?" My grandfather was the main provider, making sure that he worked hard, and saved wisely to take care of my grandmother, and ensuring she was provided for even after he passed away. Mamma was a school teacher (hmm, maybe I will be like her!), but she also made their house a home. She was a phenomenal cook (yet another way I want to be like her), and when Grampa got sick she learned to cook new foods so he could eat them. They worked with each other, complementing each others strengths, supporting their weaknesses. Better together than apart.No, they did not have a perfect marriage, but that doesn't exist. They had a lasting marriage. Not just a marriage that they endured, but a marriage that worked. He drove her to the grocery store, and she laughed at his ridiculous jokes.With  46 years of marriage, to their credit, I can honestly say I want that.  I want to be like her. Patient, loving, feminine.

Thanks for stopping by, I am glad you got to "meet" my Mamma!

Next up is my other grand mother, so stop back soon!


She is still a Craynon!

In honor of mother's day coming up next month, I decided to do a sort of mini-series as it were, and introduce you to some of my favorite moms. Mom's that I want to be like when I grow up.

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my sister.

Johanna Craynon O'Hara (see how I snuck that Craynon in there really subtly?) is my oldest sister. I have 2 and I must say that it is awesome.
In my mind my sister is still a Craynon. And always will be. YES I know she has been married for 5+ years. YES I realize she has 2 kids (and one one the way =) ), and that she will be an O'Hara longer than she was a Craynon. But I like to claim this relationship. I want to introduce her as a Craynon. I want people to know she is still mine. We don't really look much alike, so the name is a linking thing. I have no problem with her being married, I dont resent that, it seems normal. Maybe I should make her husband  change his name to Craynon too, so that I can claim them both!

Why do I want to claim them? Aside from the fact that my niece and nephew are some of the cutest kids, I have some real reasons too =).

 From as early as I can remember Johanna has been a constant and vigilant protector to all of her younger siblings, and now her kids. Although her "help" was sometimes counter productive (see the soap on the toothbrush incidents),and to my 4 year old self highly unwelcome, it was always because she thought it was what was best. Johanna was always the 2nd mom that we never knew we needed.
 The childhood desire to protect and guard us may have been a little excessive, since we did have a mom, and a very good one at that!(Don't worry, you will meet her soon!)No one needs to worry about falling over railings at the mall, or even plummeting into the Grand Canyon, as long as Johanna is there to remind you that there is an edge ;-). But more than being physically protective, I have seen her stand up for us "littler kids" in situations where she sought to protect us from emotional pain, even at cost to herself.

For those of you who may be concerned that she uses soap on her own children's teeth, no worries, she grew out of that. And as she matured she learned to be a little more...discerning in what was best ;-). Now she willingly seeks advice, and council  when she needs to decide what is best. She makes suggestions and gives advice. She prays, and submits to her husband. She seeks to honor him, and God in the way she cares for their children.
Johanna is one of the most transparent people I know. Maybe thats because she is a Craynon, and we wear our emotions on our sleeves. I think that is only part of it though. God has blessed Johanna with a gift of words, and a humble heart that allows her to use her words to honestly express herself. Her blog http://worthdoinghalfway.wordpress.com/ is a wonderful example of this.(Shameless plug ;-))
Now I am not insinuating that she is perfect or that we always got along. Like I said, we are sisters. But as I have grown older, I have a much greater appreciation for her wisdom. I have seen her walk through times of confusion, and times of real loss and pain, and I can honestly say I want to grow to be like her, as she grows to be like Jesus.

And, just for fun, here is a picture of all 3 of us girls. Sadly, as much as Johanna tried, she could not protect us from the 90's ;-)